Grand Challenge Committee

Grand Challenge Committee

As alumni of LEAD21, how do we tackle the Grand Challenges that we all face? One way is to start small, and grow tall! Work with the assets we have, find ways to network, and lead change. We are currently requesting Letters of Intent (LOI) for any interested team willing to put ideas to action.

Submit an idea (1-page letter) for an exemplary project based on one of the Grand Challenges:

Focus is “leading change” by practicing leadership skills learned in LEAD21
“The Big Easy” where the Action Team outcomes are relatively easy to complete with high level of impact.

LOI needs to identify Action Team Members, Team Leader(s), and answer:

  • Why does your Action Team want to lead this change?
  • Why is your team best positioned for success?

Submit LOI to Brian McCornack (

Alumni Association Team Leadership will review submitted proposals and work with Action Teams to develop S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented) Result Goal(s) and 30-90 Action Plans

Action Team Leaders will make a report to the Alumni Assoc. Leadership Team and LEAD21 Board meetings at the Annual Meeting in February.

Previous Webinar

Introduction to Grand Challenges
Dr. Brian McCornack (Kansas State University, Class 12), chair of the Grand Challenges Committee, led a discussion on how to best prepare letters of intent for consideration as one of this year’s Action Teams. Forming teams starts with understanding your “why” but also strategizing your first steps as a group. Brian provides some guiding principles on how to best select project ideas that leverage current assets while identifying key opportunities for successful action team development. Watch Now

Grand Challenge Summaries (PDFs)

Challenge 1: The Future of Extension: Alternative Delivery Mechanisms?
Challenge 2: Community and Economic Development: Where to Begin?
Challenge 3: Environmental Protection & Sustainability: What’s Our Role?
Challenge 4: Food Security: How Will We Help Feed the Hungry?
Challenge 5: Diversity & Equity in Higher Education: Are We Fair and Just?
Challenge 6: Student Access and Success: The Drift Toward Elitism?